What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri May 28, 2010 4:50 am

Astus wrote:"I was hoping we could get more at the experiential sense of it"

It is a form of religious writing that Dogen uses, a kind of literature. This is a forum where what we can use are words. So the question is, what is an "experiential sense" style? Is it perhaps expressing the same thing in our own words?


Yes, or contrasting for comparison sake. A lot can be expressed in words using metaphor etc.
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Dexing » Fri May 28, 2010 5:37 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huifeng wrote:
If I could see what kanji characters he used, it would help immensely.

Those characters which I am pretty sure he would have used can be read in some really rather interesting ways, far beyond that of the English given here. Not that the English would be wrong, just that translation drops various things out of the equation.

Particularly if those kanji are 眾生 and 界. But I'd first have to confirm that these are the terms he's using.


What is the sense of those in english and to which terms would they correspond in the Dogen passage?


众生 is living beings and 界 is world, also used together in eye-world, ear-world, etc., aka the "18 Realms/Worlds" 十八界.

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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Astus » Fri May 28, 2010 8:39 am

Dexing wrote:众生 is living beings and 界 is world, also used together in eye-world, ear-world, etc., aka the "18 Realms/Worlds" 十八界.


I think then we better look at what Dogen wrote:

realms: 世界 (world), 法界 (dharma-realm), 一莖草 (a blade of grass), 一杖 (a staff)
elements: 水 (water), 雲 (cloud), 風 (wind), 火 (fire), 地 (earth)
beings: 有情 (sentient being), 佛 (buddha), 祖 (ancestor)

Not that this would change the meaning already obtained from the translation.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Huifeng » Fri May 28, 2010 1:39 pm

Astus wrote:
Dexing wrote:众生 is living beings and 界 is world, also used together in eye-world, ear-world, etc., aka the "18 Realms/Worlds" 十八界.


I think then we better look at what Dogen wrote:

realms: 世界 (world), 法界 (dharma-realm), 一莖草 (a blade of grass), 一杖 (a staff)
elements: 水 (water), 雲 (cloud), 風 (wind), 火 (fire), 地 (earth)
beings: 有情 (sentient being), 佛 (buddha), 祖 (ancestor)

Not that this would change the meaning already obtained from the translation.


Thanks, Astus.

However, the "dharma-dhatu" also is a term which can mean many different things - the sphere of mental objects, dependent origination - in both reified and non-reified senses, and "the universe" (which is both of the former for many east asian schools).
And a "realm" in general can also refer to a range of the senses, including mind in general. (Here the Skt is "visaya", etc. but they are all the same in Chinese.)

I think that the Chinese terms for a "living being" 眾生 has more potential for word play than "sentient being" 有情, in that the Chinese often gloss "living being" 眾生 as 眾緣所生 = "that born from many conditions". Of course, this simply doesn't work in Skt or Pali (for sattva / satta), but the Chinese, esp. Chan, has a lot of mileage from this. After all, this again becomes synonymous for "any phenomena which is arisen dependently", ie. everything.

This is a great case whereby reading the kanji has just so many more levels than any English translation could, unless one back reads the Chinese into it. Once put into other languages, other potential readings open up, and others close down. Just as from the Skt to Chinese, this happens, so too from Chinese / Japanese to English.

No doubt there are many more in there in the Japanese, that I simply am completely unaware of, too.
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Astus » Fri May 28, 2010 2:25 pm

Here are three other translations of the same paragraph:

Carl Bielefeldt wrote:It is not the case simply that there is water in the world; within the world of water there is a world. And this is true not only within water: within clouds as well there is world of sentient beings; within wind there is world of sentient beings; within fire there is world of sentient beings; within earth there is world of sentient beings. Within the dharma realm there is a world of sentient beings; within a single blade of grass there is world of sentient beings; within a single staff there is a world of sentient beings. And wherever there is a world of sentient beings, there, inevitably, is the world of buddhas and ancestors. The reason this so, we should study very carefully.


Shasta Abbey wrote:Not only is there water in the world, there is a world within the world of water. Not only is it like this in water, there is also a sentient world in clouds, and a sentient world in wind, and a sentient world in fire, and a sentient world in earth, and a sentient world in the realm of thoughts and things, and a sentient world in a blade of grass, and a sentient world in a monk’s traveling staff. Wherever there is a sentient world, there is, of necessity, a world of Buddhas and Ancestors in that place. Such a principle should be well explored indeed!


T. Cleary wrote:It is not just that there is water in the world; there are worlds in the realm of water. And this is so not only in water - there are also worlds of sentient beings in clouds, there are worlds of sentient beings in wind, there are worlds of sentient beings in fire, there are worlds of sentient beings in earth, there are worlds of sentient beings in phenomena, there are worlds of sentient beings in a single blade of grass, there are worlds of sentient beings in a single staff. Where there are worlds of sentient beings, there must be the world of Buddhas and Zen adepts - you should meditate on this principle very thoroughly.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Astus » Fri May 28, 2010 2:53 pm

Master Huifeng,

Now consider the case when from English it is translated to still another language. That's because English is the primary Western language and the source of Buddhist texts in many countries. But, I don't know of a case when a text is translated from a translation made from English. Nevertheless, this is very much into the realm of language and the mysteries of translating.

By the way, now that you see the Chinese characters, would you add something to your analysis of the text?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby White Lotus » Fri May 28, 2010 5:31 pm

:namaste:

It is not the case simply that there is water in the world; within the world of water there is a world. And this is true not only within water: within clouds as well there is world of sentient beings; within wind there is world of sentient beings; within fire there is world of sentient beings; within earth there is world of sentient beings. Within the dharma realm there is a world of sentient beings; within a single blade of grass there is world of sentient beings; within a single staff there is a world of sentient beings. And wherever there is a world of sentient beings, there, inevitably, is the world of buddhas and ancestors. The reason this so, we should study very carefully.


the above is speaking in conventional terms. actually there is not even a dog to have buddha nature. as for the four elements and six sense bases... there are none, there is only what people for convenience sake call emptiness and not even that... thats all. still drinking tea, as clearly was Dogen too.

best wishes, White Lotus.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Dae Bi » Sat May 29, 2010 1:58 am

We have a saying in Oz, "Stop running around like a chook with it's head choped off." I think this may apply here. Concentrate on the here and now.
Same as all the world of Buddha ancestors.
Last edited by Dae Bi on Sat May 29, 2010 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What does this Dogen passage mean to you?

Postby Huifeng » Sat May 29, 2010 4:39 am

Astus wrote:Master Huifeng,

Now consider the case when from English it is translated to still another language. That's because English is the primary Western language and the source of Buddhist texts in many countries. But, I don't know of a case when a text is translated from a translation made from English. Nevertheless, this is very much into the realm of language and the mysteries of translating.

By the way, now that you see the Chinese characters, would you add something to your analysis of the text?


I know of some groups working from English translations into Spanish and Portuguese, but I don't know if that includes Dogen or not.

Not much to add. Just reiterate that the abstract nature of the content warrants close attention to the original text, in particular what is being translated as "world" and less so, to "sentient (being)".

I don't know much about Dogen at all, though, so take my comments with a pinch of salt.
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